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Kolsch Style

Im looking for a good Kolsch style extract kit to brew for a friend. I have found a few, but have a question about the fermentation. My brew room holds a temp of about 66 in Sept. Will this work or do i need to do cold fermentation with this style?

I believe in fermenting in the colder side of the temps listed for the yeast. 2565 list 56-64*. I would shoot for 60 or lower.

See my signature line for way to lower your temps.

Cooler is better. Try a wet t-shirt and fan to reduce the temp another 5 degrees – good enough.

[quote=“Nighthawk”]I believe in fermenting in the colder side of the temps listed for the yeast. 2565 list 56-64*. I would shoot for 60 or lower.

See my signature line for way to lower your temps.[/quote]
Agree. The higher temps might create some estery flavors that might make your Kolsch a little out of style. Also, if you believe that fermentation make the temp of the wort rise by as much as 5°, you’d be fermenting your wort at 71°. I also have some tips on my site (lager page, I think) for keeping temps down and in the case of a Kolsch or something like a West Coast Lager (2112 or 810), I would place the fermenter in a tub of water with about 10 gallons of cold water and some frozen water or Gatorade bottles in it. Rotate those and keep the temps lower. Kolsch can be a very rewarding style to make… good luck with it.

Two things you might want to consider:

  1. White Labs WLP029 has an optimum fementation temp of 65 to 69, and yields a clean lager-like ale. You would only need to lower your room temp a couple of degrees if you use this yeast.

  2. The NB Honey Kolsch recipie is very good (and a favorite of my wife). It uses Wyeast 1010, which is actualy a clean fermenting yeast for American Wheat beer. It works well for this recipie and you could get by with a room temp of 66 degrees, as its optimum range is 58 to 74.

:cheers:

[quote=“Ken Lenard”][quote=“Nighthawk”]I believe in fermenting in the colder side of the temps listed for the yeast. 2565 list 56-64*. I would shoot for 60 or lower.

See my signature line for way to lower your temps.[/quote]
Agree. The higher temps might create some estery flavors that might make your Kolsch a little out of style. Also, if you believe that fermentation make the temp of the wort rise by as much as 5°, you’d be fermenting your wort at 71°. I also have some tips on my site (lager page, I think) for keeping temps down and in the case of a Kolsch or something like a West Coast Lager (2112 or 810), I would place the fermenter in a tub of water with about 10 gallons of cold water and some frozen water or Gatorade bottles in it. Rotate those and keep the temps lower. Kolsch can be a very rewarding style to make… good luck with it.[/quote]

I saw a post on another forum, where the indication was that you would need to rotate the frozen bottles every 3 - 4 hours. As someone that works and wants to sleep, i dont see how that is possible. My question, i guess, is this…is that actually necessary? I assume its to avoid fluctuation, but how critical is that?

[quote=“jra173”]
I saw a post on another forum, where the indication was that you would need to rotate the frozen bottles every 3 - 4 hours. As someone that works and wants to sleep, i dont see how that is possible. My question, i guess, is this…is that actually necessary? I assume its to avoid fluctuation, but how critical is that?[/quote]

There is no right or wrong answer. If you want to keep a swamp cooler under 60, you are going to need to have new ice bottles going into the bath very frequently. This assumes your fermentation is at a typical room temperature. If your area is cooler or if you don’t mind a fermenting temperature in the mid to high 60s, you don’t have to change the bottles as often.

I am using a swamp cooler this weekend and have changed the bottles (2 or 3 20 oz bottles and 1 larger bottle) three or four times a day. I am keeping the beer in the low to mid-60s. My goal was to stay under 70 so I have been happy with the results. I don’t get up in the middle of the night. I don’t go home from work to change the bottles. It’s beer, not a puppy. (Babies are WAY more work IME :slight_smile: ).

It is really up to you with ales and hybrids. Pick a schedule that works for you. If you choose to go the way of lagers and cold conditioning, more action on your part is needed.

Yeah, part of it depends on where you live (north=easier to pull off) and the size of your frozen water bottles. I some frozen water bottles, frozen 20oz Gatorade bottles and also some quart or half-gallon apple juice bottles. if you live in Phoenix, it would be easier to get a fridge to do this. If you live in St. Paul, just wait until winter and use your basement. Otherwise, you’ll have to be the judge. I played with this quite a bit when I was trying to improve my brewing and I found that good primary fermentation temps are something you cannot skip over without there being some consequences. It’s one of THE big things you need to remember as a brewer so if you live in a spot where this may not work… check out Craigslist and see if someone in your area is ditching a freezer or fridge. I have 5 fridges dedicated to brewing and yes, my wife thinks I’m certifiably insane.

I have a diferent philosophy overall. Rather than controlling temperature artificially, I try to selecct the right yeast for the temp that mother naure gives me. I can brew a good “kolsch style” with amient temp at 66 with the right yeast. I suggested a couple in my previous post.

If I did not work out of town, I could put ice packs in water baths and such to fight mother nature. But stuff happens, and the temp will not be contstant in practice for many people with regular obligations. I get caught more often than I’d like when mother nature gets hotter than I expect, but by and large, I make great beer trying to harmonize with her.

If we all had the number of refrigerators that we would like ideally, we would not be posting so much about tubs of water, ice packs, fans, wet T shirts, and such. (Okay wet T shirts are cool in their own right.) And, our fermentation temps would be rigourously controlled with little variation. And, if there were no seasons and no surprises, we would be bored.

Brew to your conditions. Select your yeast accordingly. And tweak with fans, tubs, wet T shirts, and etc., but dont fight mother nature overtly.

:cheers:

Even better, why not brew a bstyle that likes a 71 degree fermentation?

I have no problem with brewers attempting to peacefully coexist with Mother Nature but you have to acknowledge the limitations with that. A West Coast Lager made with 2112 is a lot better when fermented in the 55-60° range than it is in the 65-70° range. If you wanted to make a true lager style, you’re either going to need a fridge or wait until winter where maybe a corner of your basement gets down to 50° or so. Even with my standard ales (pale ales, ambers, reds, blondes, etc) I ferment in a plastic tub that is filled with 10 gallons of cool water, sitting on my cement basement floor with some frozen water or Gatorade bottles in it. I know that it’s not a perfect solution to suggest that people rotate frozen water bottles every few hours… many people can’t do that and I understand. I work at home most of the time and I’m in a part of the country where we have our cool periods unlike those in the south.

Ken writes: [quote]I have no problem with brewers attempting to peacefully coexist with Mother Nature . . . [/quote]

Great. That’s my approach. I have two friges dedicated to brewing, but I still want to brew, lager, and serve more than I can temp control at any given time. My solution is to brew styles that work for my ambient temp. I ferment in an unheated basement room (with an exterior door I installed to thermally separate it from living space). It varies from the mid 40s to the mid 70’s here in Northern MN, so for every style (turn, turn, turn) there is a season. Brewing a saison this wekend because it is 73 in there. I brew lagers all winter. In between there’s time for Cali common, alts, kolsch, and the whole range of ales from scottish, to pales, to belgians.

Keep in mind that styles delevloped from differnet local conditions. I am happier and make better beer selecting the right style for the season and weather. There are a lot of beer styles that would ideally like a 66 degree ambient. I just thought I would share my “brew for the conditions” approach with the topic poster, jra, and the rest of the forum in case others would be happier with it as well. I am sure my advice is worth what I charged for it.

:cheers:

Great. That’s my approach. I have two friges dedicated to brewing, but I still want to brew, lager, and serve more than I can temp control at any given time. My solution is to brew styles that work for my ambient temp. I ferment in an unheated basement room (with an exterior door I installed to thermally separate it from living space). It varies from the mid 40s to the mid 70’s here in Northern MN, so for every style (turn, turn, turn) there is a season. Brewing a saison this wekend because it is 73 in there. I brew lagers all winter. In between there’s time for Cali common, alts, kolsch, and the whole range of ales from scottish, to pales, to belgians.

Keep in mind that styles delevloped from differnet local conditions. I am happier and make better beer selecting the right style for the season and weather. There are a lot of beer styles that would ideally like a 66 degree ambient. I just thought I would share my “brew for the conditions” approach with the topic poster, jra, and the rest of the forum in case others would be happier with it as well. I am sure my advice is worth what I charged for it.

:cheers: [/quote]
Gotcha. Your advice is worth more than you charged for it. Cheers!

I live in a place where for about one month a year it the ambient gets too warm in my outside shed to ferment a typical ale - I take that month off from brewing. The rest of the year I typically need to heat my fermentation chamber to get an optimal temperature. Much easier that way. Back when I lived in a warmer place though, I also did the “brew by the season” approach. It really does make you feel in tune with the universe.

I would do the swamp cooler dealio for the first 3 or 4 days then let’r rip.

I somewhat see the point of brewing styles that suite you ambient temperature however my basement is 75 this time of year which means I’d actually be closer to 80, no thanks. Even those goofy Belgian styles benefit from starting on the low side then bumping it up.

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